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Potential or Production: The Looming 76ers Draft Question

By Bill Gorman, Sports Talk Philly Staff Writer

Over the past two seasons, the Philadelphia 76ers have made it an organizational priority to add defensive specialists through the draft. Head coach Brett Brown highly values players who can play defense, and the organization has surely made strides in adding players over the last two offseasons, beginning in the 2018 NBA Draft, that fit his defensive philosophy. 

The team selected Villanova forward Mikal Bridges with the 10th pick of the 2018 NBA Draft. Bridges was thought to be a potential three-and-D player with lockdown potential and the ability to shoot 40% from beyond the arc, all while also possessing enough ball handling skill to run a team’s offense in short spurts. He had also played three years of college basketball, meaning he was seen as a ready-made NBA prospect.

Continue reading "Potential or Production: The Looming 76ers Draft Question" »

sec247pod 59: Joe Girardi Impresses, Eagles Win & ...

Pod pic
#2Mikes are ready to run through a wall for Joe Girardi! They discuss the impressive first impression of the Phils new skipper plus breakdown the Eagles win in Buffalo & a look at Da Bears!

On the show:

  • Joe Girardi impresses
  • Eagles-Bills Recap
  • A look at Da Bears game
  • Lackluster NFL trade deadline
  • Results of the D-Jax poll
  • Boobies at the World Series
  • A potential return for EA Sports NCAA Football
  • Sixers are undefeated
  • Flyers are a mess

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Phillies Hire Bryan Price to be Pitching Coach

Former Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price got a lot of attention this offseason.  As many as four teams were interested in Price as their pitching coach: The San Diego Padres, the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Boston Red Sox, and the Phillies.  The Phillies were the ones who landed Price's services.

Matt Gelb of the Athletic broke the news:

The Phillies officially announced the move on Thursday.

Price comes to the Phillies with an extensive amount of experience as a pitching coach.  Price first was pitching coach for the Seattle Mariners from 2000 to 2006.  Larry Bowa was on the coaching staff with him 2000 before being named Phillies manager.  Price then moved to the Diamondbacks for 2007 through 2009 before joining the Cincinnati Reds in 2010.

The Reds promoted Price to manager after Dusty Baker was fired.  Before Price took the managerial job with the Reds, there were rumors that the Phillies were interested in Price's services as pitching coach.  The Phillies instead hired Bob McClure.

The Phillies remain on the hunt for a hitting coach.

Flyers Call Up 3 from Phantoms

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

After the last two games, both lopsided losses, there was the feeling some roster changes could be coming. The Flyers had Wednesday off and ahead of Thursday’s practice, made three changes to the roster. 

Defenseman Phil Myers and forwards German Rubtsov and Carsen Twarynski were called up from Lehigh Valley. Forward Mikhail Vorobyev was sent down. Defenseman Sam Morin was sent to the Phantoms on a conditioning assignment. 

In addition, forward Scott Laughton was placed on long-term injured reserve. Laughton had successful surgery on a fractured finger on Wednesday and will be out for three-to-four weeks.

Continue reading "Flyers Call Up 3 from Phantoms" »

Howie Roseman Made The Right Move

By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

On Monday, Eagles GM Howie Roseman acquired DE Genard Avery from the Cleveland Browns. He's a player that could very well fill the role that Chris Long had played for the Eagles over the previous two seasons.

On Tuesday, he did not make a move ahead of the NFL trade deadline.

Immediate reactions on Twitter were harsh, criticizing Roseman for not addressing corner or wide receiver.

The issue is that Roseman made the right move.

The team had holes on the defensive line, in the cornerback room and at receiver.

The Monday trade addressed the line and the team already has players at the other spots - or at least other options.

Continue reading "Howie Roseman Made The Right Move" »

Flyers-Penguins Observations: Dreadful Defense

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

When the Flyers lost four straight games (0-3-1) after solid wins in the first two games of the season, there was this “here we go again” vibe. When the Flyers finally got some regular time at home, something they had not had since the first week of the preseason, it marked the team’s first test, rebounding from a week that brought forth a lot of questions.

They passed with flying colors -- a convincing 6-2 win over Vegas, a solid 4-1 win over Chicago, and just when you thought the Flyers were going to lose a game where the bounces didn’t go their way and the goaltending wasn’t bailing them out, they scored five goals in the third period to rally past Columbus, marking a three-game winning streak.

To this point, the Flyers had played nine games, going 5-3-1, and the record wasn’t really indicative of the performance. The Flyers had out-shot their opponent in eight of nine games, losing that battle only in a lifeless loss in Calgary. Even in losses to Edmonton and Dallas that looked lopsided on the scoreboard, the Flyers had their moments where they either carried the play or heavily out-shot the opponent, leaving limited chances for the opposition.

As Sunday’s action started, the Flyers had played just two games against Eastern Conference teams -- their 4-0 win over New Jersey in the home opener and Saturday’s dramatic comeback win over Columbus. The real first test was just beginning for the Flyers.

The Metro is going to be very competitive and however you classified the Flyers entering the season in terms of playoff potential, they were always going to be competing with five or six others in an eight-team division for four or five playoff spots that are available. Games within the division are going to be crucial. Even in games that the Flyers can’t find a way to win, what you at least wanted to see was the same competitive nature of the game. When the Flyers didn’t have their best in Calgary or against Dallas or even when things snowballed out of control in Edmonton, there were periods where the game was still one opportunity or bounce away from being very different.

In Calgary, the margin was one goal for the majority of the game, including most of the third period after the Flyers scored to make it 2-1. The urgency didn’t seem to be there, but the margin was able to be erased.

In Edmonton, the Flyers were dominating the second period, down by just a goal, before Connor McDavid used his speed to score and that jump started a three-goal rally that put the game out of reach.

Against Dallas, the Flyers trailed 2-1 through the entire second period and 3-1 for most of the third while allowing Dallas just two shots for nearly 40 minutes. Again, it was competitive.

That’s where Sunday’s game and now Tuesday’s drubbing in Pittsburgh was so alarming.

Continue reading "Flyers-Penguins Observations: Dreadful Defense" »

Soul, 5 Other Arena Football League Teams Close Local Operations


By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

The Philadelphia Soul, and each of the five other teams that make up the Arena Football League (AFL), have ceased local business operations as the league looks to restructure.

Ron Jaworski, part of the Soul ownership group and AFL Chairman of the Executive Committee, told NBC Sports Philadelphia that each of the six teams in the league, including the Soul, are not ceasing all operations, however. The AFL has not yet determined whether it will suspend operations entirely, as they explore other options and seek a path for "financial solvency, a verdict that is said to be forthcoming," writes The Times Union.

Coaches, front-office staff and the players union were informed Tuesday of the AFL's decision. AFL Commissioner Randall Boe released the following statement shortly after:

Earlier today, the Arena Football League was forced to make the difficult, but necessary decision to close our team services and business operations units in our local markets.

These closures have resulted in the elimination of various staff positions, and is a direct consequence of the current financial constraints facing the AFL, which include extensive legacy liabilities and a recent multimillion-dollar litigation filed against the League by an insurance carrier that provided coverage for the AFL between 2009 and 2012. Those liabilities, which are all related to prior League operations, severely constrain the League’s ability to expand and operate.  

The financial challenges we are now dealing with do not, however, reflect the determined efforts of our current shareholders to maintain the viability of the AFL. Our shareholders have made significant investments to restructure and re-launch the AFL and make it successful. Additionally, they have continued to work actively with the League office to grow the sport in their respective markets. Every touchdown celebrated and every ArenaBowl trophy ever hoisted can be credited to their efforts and to our incredibly loyal and growing fanbase.

The AFL is innovative, brave and fun. Our teams push barriers and continually experiment with dynamic ways to engage fans, creating some of the most memorable live action sports experiences.

We would like to thank our employees for their tremendous service during their time with the AFL and we value the important role they played in being our front-line ambassadors for the sport.

Looking forward, the AFL will continue to push ahead with efforts to identify solutions to address the aforementioned financial constraints. We have not yet made the final determination that it will be necessary to suspend all League operations, but we expect that decision to be made within the next few weeks. Should we not be able to move forward, we will issue information about all applicable refunds at that time. We are exploring every possible avenue to continue bringing AFL football to our fans, including further evolutions to the current business model, and are engaging with prospective investors and supporters who are interested in seeing the League continue to grow.

Boe told The Times Union that the AFL has been evaluating it becoming a traveling league "as a potential model to go forward and keep the league alive." He adds, "“I hesitate to say that we have a sense that that is likely to be successful. It’s the thing that we're looking at. We really don't see an alternative to that.”

Such a model would be similar to the Premier Lacrosse League, whose "players practice in a centralized location and fly to a different city each weekend to play games," The Times Union writes.

The three-time-champion Soul played 14 seasons in the league from 2004 to 2019; under Jaworki's leadership, the Soul recently won back-to-back championships in 2016 and 2017.

All AFL operations will continue to run through the Philadelphia-based AFL office as the league determines its next step. AFL teams in addition to the Soul include: Albany Empire, Atlantic City Blackjacks, Baltimore Brigade, Columbus Destroyers, and Washington Valor.

Penguins Score 4 in 1st, Rout Flyers

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The Flyers loss to the Islanders on Sunday was slightly sugarcoated by the score. A 5-3 final didn't tell the whole story.

On Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, there was no sugarcoating this result. The Flyers were bad and they paid the price for it.

The Penguins scored four goals in the first period on their way to a 7-1 win over the Flyers.

Continue reading "Penguins Score 4 in 1st, Rout Flyers " »

Eagles Re-Sign Bruce Hector To Practice Squad

By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Following the acquisition of Genard Avery, Bruce Hector was waived to make room on the active roster.

To no surprise, the team has re-signed him to the practice squad.

Continue reading "Eagles Re-Sign Bruce Hector To Practice Squad" »

Flyers-Penguins: Game 11 Preview

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The Flyers three-game winning streak was snapped by the Islanders on Sunday night in a game that was more lopsided than the score indicated. The 5-3 loss wasn't pretty, especially following a dramatic win the night before.

The Flyers have had their share of dramatic finishes against Tuesday night's opponent of late. Last season, the Flyers won their first two games against the Penguins in overtime, rallying from a 3-1 deficit to win the 2019 Stadium Series in Philadelphia in overtime, 4-3, and scoring a goal in the final minute of the third period to tie the game before winning in the final seconds of overtime, 2-1, in Pittsburgh just a couple weeks later.

The two teams meet for the first time in the 2019-20 season on Tuesday. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.

Continue reading "Flyers-Penguins: Game 11 Preview" »